Some you've undoubtedly heard of, such as double process blonding, or highlighting/foiling; but there are some you may not have heard of such as balayage or ombre techniques. And even if you have heard of them, do you really know what they are, or what the up-keep, or pricing might be? Well, let me enlighten, and hopefully encourage you in regard to these wonderful, and seemingly arcane processes.
We'll start with one of the more common, and time tested techniques-foiling, or what is sometimes called weaving, slicing, or highlighting.
I like the term foiling, because it describes it so perfectly. We are basically taking woven, or sliced out sections of hair, placing a color or lightener on the hair, and folding it into a nice little package for clean and even processing. This technique can be used to make a truly limitless result from stripy and avante garde, to very subtle and reserved. It can be used to blend grey, tone silver hair, subtly lighten, or darken, add warmth, or tone down brassy blondes. It is truly my favorite go-to procedure for at least 50% of my color clients.
Foiling is a process that can be a very low maintenance procedure, I have clients that have their hair foiled anywhere from monthly to twice a year. Most common is around 3 months. Average price starts at $130.00 for me, but the price is a bargain if you like subtle or easy to grow out color. Another benefit of foiling is that no matter how harsh the product you might be using, it is a small enough percentage being colored that the over all health of the hair is fairly easy to maintain. If the procedure is done by a knowledgeable stylist, the hair should be in extremely good health indefinitely. If your hair seems dry or brittle after a few applications, you might want to seek the advice of another stylist.
The next procedure probably comprises about 30% to 40% of my remaining color clients. That is the all-over color techniques. And before you start making assumptions, this is not what a friend of mine calls the dump and scrunch. We're not just taking a permanent color product and applying scalp to ends. There are many different techniques that fall within the category of all-over color. We could do a two process color where we are using a lightener to lift the color, and then a demi-permenant color to tone it to the proper finished color, or we could apply at the roots, and take throughout the ends in a baliage technique, or maybe never take color through the ends to leave it a more naturally faded tone (usually reserved for blondes and very light browns in my experience).
The all-over color techniques are used for going lighter and/or brighter, covering grey 100%, and sometimes just for adding depth or shine. If this techniques is done properly it should have a nice depth of tone, an even shiny finish, and should last at least 6 weeks. If the product isn't the correct type for the result wanted, the hair will most likely fade very quickly to an unflattering warm/brassy/orang-ish tone, and the hair will appear dry. The more times it's done improperly the dryer the hair appears, and the quicker the color fades. Beware of home color and inexperienced stylists if choosing something this radical. I charge between $105.00 and $130.00 depending on the difficulty of the application, and maintenance is generally somewhere between 3-8 weeks, depending on amount of grey, or how far one has moved from the natural depth or tone.
After this comes balayage techniques. I use this technique on a few clients to lighten their hair, but honestly, I use it most often when refreshing, or changing the tone subtly, on many of my all-over color clients.
Balayage is particularly difficult because the hair must be watched constantly to maintain an even moisture content, and even contact with the hair. The stylist may massage and work the color for most of the processing time. Like foils, balayage can create a seemingly endless array of finished looks. A baliage technique can cost anywhere from $110 to $150 or more depending on the time and difficulty of the procedure.
A look that's a bit more cutting edge in todays fashion scene is the ombre technique. This look is based on the fabric printing style by the same name. It is a more daring multi-dimensional color technique that started with the idea of "low maintenance" color, and usually consists of both lightening the hair (towards the ends), and darkening or richening the "regrowth", the hair nearer the scalp, which is naturally darker.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the techniques we use in today's salon, but with just these three procedures a good stylist can craft hundreds, if not thousands of unique looks for todays more discerning clients. And as always, these are techniques that should ONLY be used by very experienced color specialists, please don't try any of these techniques at home.